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Dr. Victor Iwuoha

Victor Iwuoha

Biometric Coloniality: Digital Consensus and the Biometric State in Nigeria

Dr. Victor Iwuoha


This talk frames the concept of ‘biome-tri-cycle’ to explain the prevailing structure of digital coloniality maintained by a network of interactions among powerful global institutions, big tech companies and the compliant emerging biometric states in the Global South. This structure of biometric coloniality operates on the basis of a lucrative digital consensus to carry out techno-capitalist biometric ID interventions, which reproduce colonial relations of domination. Using Nigeria’s Identity for Development (ID4D) experience, the study shows that the emergence of biometric states is linked to specific interconnected (transnational) spaces of biometric data struggle and exploitation where uses and abuses of biometric data are both contested and performed. Digital subjects, including the vulnerable in society and migrants, confront /negotiate against a deeply imbricated biometric power structure in which migration control, biometric policing, gender objectification, fraud, exclusion, targeted oppression, surveillance, breach of personal data privacy, and other concrete materializations of biometric authoritarianism are institutionalized. This study concludes that biometric states are implicated in the monopolistic siege and control of Africa’s digital market and migratory spaces by global conglomerates which facilitate unbridled extraction of digital data as raw material and tradeable capitalist product through consistent digital commodification and dispossession.

Date: 6th of June 2024, 12:00-14:00 (RS Mobilities meeting at S121, GW I)

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